Big 12: Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
The Tampa Tribune reported that a variety of coaches had interest in the position created when Jim Leavitt was fired on Jan. 8.
Among the more notable applicants included Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, former Iowa State coach and current Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney and former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and current Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora.
Another candidate was Nebraska football consultant Joe Moglia, a former chairman at TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation and a former defensive coordinator at Dartmouth.
The interest in the Bulls job isn't unexpected. Many coaches see it as a potential coaching gold mine because of its facilities, location and conference affiliation. It's not a surprise that some of the top Big 12 coordinators and other coaches were intrigued by the school and its possibilities.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas and Northern Illinois have announced a two-game football series in 2011 and 2012. The Huskies will travel to Lawrence, Kan., for the Sept. 10, 2011 game, while Kansas returns the trip to DeKalb, Ill., on Sept. 22, 2012.
Northern Illinois officials are excited about attracting their first home game against an opponent from a BCS conference since 2003, when Maryland and Iowa State visited Huskie Stadium.
"Getting a home-and-home series with a BCS conference opponent has been a priority since I came to NIU a year ago," Northern Illinois athletics director Jeff Compher said in a prepared statement. "We know what it means to our fan base to have Kansas come to DeKalb, and this series is something that has been in the works for several months.
"We appreciate the willingness of (Kansas athletic director) Lew Perkins and his staff to work with us on these games. It's always a challenge, knowing that we have to schedule our non-conference opponents many years out, but this is a scheduling philosophy that we want to continue over time."
The only previous meeting between Northern Illinois and Kansas came on Sept. 3, 1983, with NIU claiming a 37-34 win in Lawrence.
The announcement also adds another opponent for Kansas' 2011 schedule, with one still needed.
The Jayhawks will have home games against North Dakota State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico State and a road game at Southern Mississippi in 2010. And in the following season, Kansas still has one opening with home nonconference games against Northern Illinois and UTEP and a road game scheduled at Georgia Tech.
Kansas also will switch South Division opponents in those two seasons, swapping Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma for games against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas A&M.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The Big 12's nonconference schedule is marked with several extremely difficult tests early. These are statement games for the conference as a whole. If Big 12 teams can win these games, it would grab a lot of national attention.
If not, the Big 12's national reputation could take an early hit that could have naysayers reminding us about the conference's bowl struggles last season against the SEC.
But here's a look at six games that will be the most difficult for Big 12 teams. These will be a little more difficult than those last week I listed as potential trap games.
1. Nebraska at Virginia Tech, Sept. 19: Bo Pelini's toughest nonconference road game to date. The Hokies are ranked no lower than 14th nationally in any preseason magazine I've seen yet and will be a tremendous challenge in Blacksburg. In order to win, the Cornhuskers will have to keep Virginia Tech's defense and special teams in check and hope for a break or two.
2. Georgia at Oklahoma State, Sept. 5: This game will arguably be the biggest nonconference game in Oklahoma State history. And even though the Cowboys likely will be favored and facing a Georgia team breaking in a new starting quarterback, it will still be a huge test to beat one of the Southeastern Conference's traditional power teams.
3. Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 12: The Cyclones have won four of the last five games at home in the series, but Paul Rhoads' first big test against his cross-state rivals looms especially large. Particularly with the Hawkeyes expected by many to be the surprise team in the Big Ten this season.
4. Illinois vs. Missouri (at St. Louis), Sept. 5: This game was already going to be tough before Sean Weatherspoon started tweeting about squeezing "the pulp" out of Illinois quarterback Juice Williams. And bet that Ron Zook and the Fighting Illini haven't forgotten that the Tigers have won four straight games against them in the bragging-rights battle.
5. Oklahoma at Miami, Oct. 3: This rivalry was one to circle back in the mid-1980s when Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson were battling. It's still a good one and Randy Shannon will be looking for a statement victory that would grab attention for his program from across the nation. Bet that Shannon will remind his team about the 51-13 whipping it endured last season in Norman for a little inspiration before the game at Land Shark Stadium.
6. Baylor at Wake Forest, Sept. 5: Baylor should be much better than last season and the Demon Deacons should be a little down from last season. But Wake Forest still should be a challenge considering Jim Grobe's recent transformation of the Demon Deacons, who have posted a 14-5 home record in the last three seasons. Baylor's defense will have to play much better than last season, when it allowed scoring drives on Wake Forest's first three possessions in an eventual 41-13 loss in Waco.
And 10 others to watch:
Colorado at West Virginia, Oct. 1
Oklahoma at BYU (at Arlington), Sept. 5
Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (at Arlington), Oct. 3
Texas Tech at Houston, Sept. 26
Houston at Oklahoma State, Sept. 12
Kansas at UTEP, Sept. 12
Missouri at Nevada, Sept. 26
Connecticut at Baylor, Sept. 19
Southern Mississippi at Kansas, Sept. 26
Kansas State at UCLA, Sept. 19
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Kansas and Georgia Tech have announced an upcoming two-game series that should significantly upgrade the Jayhawks' nonconference schedule.
The Yellow Jackets and Jayhawks will play in Lawrence, Kan., in 2010, before returning the game to Atlanta in 2011.
The announcement came as Kansas released its 2010 schedule. The Jayhawks also will host North Dakota State and New Mexico State and travel to Southern Mississippi for their nonconference games next season.
Kansas and Georgia Tech have met just once. The Yellow Jackets edged KU 20-14 in the 1948 Orange Bowl, KU's first bowl appearance.
Kansas most recently played an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in the 2008 Orange Bowl, when the Jayhawks defeated Virginia Tech, 24-21. KU is slated to play ACC opponent Duke in Lawrence this fall.
Georgia Tech posted a 9-4 overall record last season, which included a 5-3 ACC record and a loss to LSU in the Chick-fil-A-Bowl.
Also, Kansas' Big 12 slate of South Division opponents will switch next season. The Jayhawks will trade this year's rivals -- Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech -- for home games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State and a road game at Baylor.
That change in South opponents is significant for the Jayhawks. If they were playing their 2010 Big 12 conference schedule with their current roster, I have to believe the Jayhawks would be a consensus top-15 team in the preseason polls and a heavy favorite to win the North.
But the tougher schedule is leading many observers to discount Kansas' hopes of earning their first appearance in the Big 12 title game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Big 12 teams should be seldom tested before conference play begins as most teams again are opting to compete with a pillow-soft slate of opponents.
Here's the toughest and weakest of the Big 12 nonconference schedules:
1. Oklahoma: BYU (at Arlington, Texas), Idaho State, Tulsa, at Miami
The Sooners deserve props for adding the BYU game late. The nationally televised game should showcase Oklahoma's defense as it thwarts Max Hall and Harvey Unga for the Cougars. Idaho State is a bad Division I-AA team that went 1-11 last season. Tulsa and Miami both went to bowl games last season. The Golden Hurricane will be breaking in a new quarterback and a new coordinator -- not a good recipe for success for a road team at Owen Field. And although the game against Miami brings back memories of Jimmy Johnson vs. Barry Switzer, the fact is that the Hurricanes could be worn out by the time Oklahoma visits. Miami starts the season with a meat-grinder schedule of Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech before the Sooners visit.
2. Colorado: Colorado State, at Toledo, Wyoming, at West Virginia
Coach Dan Hawkins has this team pegged for good things in the conference. The Buffaloes will be tested by four FBS opponents, including two on the road. The rivalry game against Colorado State should be decided in the trenches and the Buffaloes' offensive line will be a load for the Rams. The Toledo game might be trickier than expected considering the Buffaloes will be playing this one only five days after the Colorado State game. But Colorado still should have the talent to prevail. Something tells me that Hawkins will remember that new Wyoming coach Dave Christensen's offense hung 113 points against his defense the last two seasons when he was at Missouri. And the West Virginia trip will be a challenge, although new Mountaineers quarterback Jarrett Brown is largely untested.
3. Missouri: Illinois (at St. Louis), Bowling Green, Furman, at Nevada
The Tigers' inexperienced defense will get a huge challenge in the opener against Illinois' pass-and-catch tandem of Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn. They'll be facing another experienced quarterback in three-year Bowling Green starter Tyler Sheehan, but the Falcons' defense will be breaking in two new cornerbacks. Furman has a talented quarterback in Jordan Sorrells, but the Paladin's defense shouldn't be able to match Missouri. The trip to Nevada might be a hornet's nest. The Wolf Pack have made four straight bowl trips, multi-purpose quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Western Athletic Conference's last two leading rushers. And, oh, yeah, the Wolf Pack probably still remember that 69-17 beatdown to the Tigers last season in Columbia.
4. Nebraska: Florida Atlantic, Arkansas State, at Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette
No truth to the rumor that the Cornhuskers are gunning for the September version of the Sun Belt championship. Their road game at Virginia Tech is the toughest game that any Big 12 team will play this season. But Bo Pelini will have two games to get his defense ready for Tyrod Taylor and Co. Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger made his career name by beating the Cornhuskers in the 1984 Orange Bowl while at Miami. He won't be nearly as successful this time around. Arkansas State stunned Texas A&M last season, but the Red Wolves will be utilizing a new offensive line this season. And Louisiana-Lafayette's offense is very young and the Cornhuskers will be catching them the week after they have met up with LSU.
5. Oklahoma State: Georgia, Houston, Rice, Grambling
Four home games make for an ideal schedule for the Cowboys to make some national noise. The Georgia game will be arguably the biggest home nonconference game in school history. But the Cowboys grab a break as the Bulldogs try to break in new quarterback Joe Cox. Houston will have Case Keenum and a high-powered offensive attack, but the Cowboys blistered the Cougars for 56 points last year and could score more this season. Rice won't be as good this season after losing most of its offensive firepower. And Grambling has a great football history and an even better band.
6. Baylor: at Wake Forest, Connecticut, Northwestern State, Kent State
The nonconference schedule could determine whether the Bears can snap that long bowl drought. And it won't be an easy one considering that Baylor is the only Big 12 team with two opponents from "Big Six" conferences. The Wake Forest opener will be a huge test, but Robert Griffin might be able to feast on a depleted Demon Deacon defense that lost four starters to the NFL draft. The Bears nearly beat Connecticut last season on the road and the Huskies lose their starting quarterback and top rusher from that team. New coach Bradley Dale Peveto will bring new ideas for Northwestern State, but the Bears have a big edge. And Kent State will be breaking in a new quarterback for a team that has won only 19 games in the last five seasons under Doug Martin.
7. Kansas: Northern Colorado, at UTEP, Duke, Southern Mississippi
The Jayhawks should be able to name their margin against Northern Colorado in the opener. The trip to the Sun Bowl against UTEP the following week might be a different matter. UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe could be a challenge, although the Jayhawks should have enough firepower to outscore them. A Kansas-Duke game would be a made-for-national television delight in basketball. Football, however, is a different story. And Southern Mississippi might be poised to challenge for the Conference USA title and might be a chore with leading conference rusher Damion Fletcher and all of its starting secondary back to challenge Todd Reesing and Dezmon Briscoe.
8. Texas A&M: New Mexico, Utah State, UAB, Arkansas (at Arlington, Texas)
The Aggies desperately need to build confidence and collect a few victories before the South Division gauntlet begins. After last season's opening-game loss against Arkansas State, expect coach Mike Sherman to have the Aggies focused for all of the games. They catch new New Mexico coach Mike Locksley with an uncertain quarterback in the Lobos' opener. Utah State is universally picked to finish last in the Western Athletic Conference. UAB will be rebuilding its defense and likely won't pose many problems for Jerrod Johnson. But the game against Arkansas at
the new Dallas Cowboys' stadium will be a challenge for A&M's defense. The Razorbacks should be much improved in Bobby Petrino's second season. Fans are paying premium prices and expect big things from both teams. The Aggies may catch a break considering the Razorbacks will play SEC contenders Georgia and Alabama in their previous two weeks.
9. Texas Tech: North Dakota, Rice, at Houston, New Mexico
Mike Leach's nonconference schedule won't be as bad as last season's trip to the pastry wagon, but not by much. North Dakota is transitioning into FCS status this season after ranking 137th among the 148 Division II passing teams last season. Sounds like target practice for Taylor Potts, doesn't it? Rice won't be nearly as tough as last season without James Casey, Jarrett Dillard and Chase Clement gone. The trip to Houston will be Tech's biggest challenge and Case Keenum will test Tech's rebuilt secondary in the first battle between the old Southwest Conference rivals since 1995. And New Mexico will have had several weeks to work under Locksley's system, making them a tougher challenge for the Red Raiders in early October.
10. Texas: Louisiana-Monroe, at Wyoming, UTEP, Central Florida
The Longhorns had a couple of game against Utah and Arkansas fall through in their planning. But don't expect the Longhorns to get that much sympathy for a group of opponents that won't give them much BCS bounce. Louisiana-Monroe will be breaking in a retooled offense with a new quarterback. The road trip to Wyoming doesn't resonate like some the Longhorns have made to places like Ohio State and Arkansas in recent seasons. The Cowboys will be breaking in a new quarterback, too. UTEP could contend for the Conference USA West title, but the Miners are a different team on the road. And the Nov. 7 game against Central Florida will bring the nation's worst offensive team from last season into Austin.
11. Iowa State: North Dakota State, Iowa, at Kent State, Army
Paul Rhoads doesn't want any surprises early in his first season and his nonconference schedule. North Dakota State has posed problems to FBS teams like Minnesota in the past. Iowa doesn't have Shonn Greene back, but has almost everybody else back on a stout defense that will challenge the Cyclones. Mighty mite 5-foot-5, 170-pound tailback Eugene Jarvis will test ISU's defense and the trip to Kent State won't be a gimme. And new Army coach Rich Ellerson will bring 6-10, 283-pound wide receiver Ali Villanueva along with starting quarterback Chip Bowden from a team that won three games last season.
12. Kansas State: Massachusetts, at Louisiana-Lafayette, at UCLA, Tennessee Tech
The schedule doesn't provide as many gooey treats as some that Bill Snyder's teams have feasted on in the past, but it's still nothing to write home about. Massachusetts is a contender in the CAA, which is the toughest top-to-bottom FCS conference in the nation. Louisiana-Lafayette will have to replace a lot of offensive talent, but can be troublesome at Cajun Field. UCLA struggled offensively last year and will be breaking in a new quarterback with four new offensive linemen. KSU might be able to compete in that one better than most might think. And Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown, older brother of Texas coach Mack Brown, returns a talented pass-and-catch combination of Lee Sweeney and Tim Benford. KSU still should roll, however.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I hear how bad the economy is every day. I even got a real-time idea of it as I watched the stock crawl on CNBC this morning.
But I found another surprising indicator as I was going through some of the newspapers this morning: Kansas is offering half-season tickets for football.
Most would figure that interest in Mark Mangino's program would be at historically high levels. The Jayhawks are coming off their first back-to-back bowl appearances in the 119-season history of the program. Many preseason polls have picked the Jayhawks to claim their first North Division championship in 2009.
But marketers at Kansas have decided to split season tickets for some fans who might not be able to afford the full price.
The Rock package includes games against Duke (Sept. 19), Iowa State (Oct. 10) and Oklahoma (Oct. 24). The Chalk package includes games against Duke (Sept. 19), Southern Mississippi (Sept. 26) and Nebraska (November 14). Both ticket packages are $150.
It's interesting that ticket buyers haven't been beating down the doors to the Jayhawks. Todd Reesing is one of the finest quarterbacks in college football. The Jayhawks' offense with him, running back Jake Sharp and receivers Kerry Meier, Dezmon Briscoe and Johnathan Wilson should be one of the most potent in the country. The defense is rebuilding, but should be at a level to keep the Jayhawks in North contention.
This isn't some struggling NBA franchise. It's a football program that is aspiring to play at a consistent level of making BCS bowl games. It's already made one BCS bowl trip recently (2008 Orange Bowl) and might make another this season.
I don't understand. I would have thought that football interest should be buzzing in the Sunflower State these days.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
It's never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season and the games that the Big 12 will provide.
During a flight of fancy last night, I sat down and plotted my ultimate dream schedule if I could watch what I now consider the best game every week.
Here's my list, including a running total of the miles I would travel from my San Antonio home:
Week 1: Georgia at Oklahoma State, Sept. 5 -- This might be the best nonconference game of the season for a Big 12 team as Mike Gundy's Cowboys face the Bulldogs. It should be a clash of two top 20 teams in the season opener. We'll get an early opportunity to see whether the Cowboys are as legitimate as their preseason publicity might suggest.
- Other games I considered: Oklahoma vs. Brigham Young (at Arlington), Illinois-Missouri (at St. Louis), Colorado State at Colorado.
- Round-trip mileage from San Antonio to Stillwater: 934 miles
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas coach Mack Brown took advantage of a break in his coaching duties by providing a motivational speech to soldiers at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas,
Brown renewed an old friendship with Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, the commander of the Army's 4th Infantry Division. Hammond has known Brown for more than 30 years. Their association began when Hammond was a quarterback at Southern Mississippi and Brown was starting his career as a wide receivers coach under Bobby Collins, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
But the most interesting part of the story were two anecdotes buried deep in the story that provide a revealing glimpse of Brown.
As a way to better relate to his young players, Brown says that he has more than 6,800 songs on his iPod. Brown said he'll often grab the ear buds from one of his players to listen to his favorite songs. He then will add those songs to his own collection.
And when he was recuperating from knee replacement surgery three years ago, Brown said he bought every video game "I could think of" to better understand the hobbies of his players.
"As long as you listen to them," Brown told the Statesman, "there's not a generation gap."
There's a reason why Brown relates to his players so well. It can be seen with his crammed iPod and how he learned to cope with "video gamers' thumb."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Missouri and Nebraska will kick off the conference race by playing their game on Thursday Oct. 8 in Columbia. Kickoff will be at 9 p.m. ET.
The game had been scheduled for Oct. 3, but by pushing it back by five days it will give the teams extra preparation time a week before the contest.
The game will mark the first Thursday game to be played in Columbia since the Tigers hosted Colorado on Oct. 8, 1992 -- exactly 17 years to the date of this year's upcoming game.
"We are very appreciative to (ESPN vice president of programming) Dave Brown and ESPN for the opportunity to showcase our program, our university and the city of Columbia. This is a marquee game that we are very excited to have featured on the national stage in this way," Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said. "Our campus and student leadership are excited about the game, and we're certainly aware that playing on a Thursday presents some unique challenges. But our fans are great, and we're confident that they will come out to support the Tigers and show the nation what a great environment we have here at Mizzou."
The appearance on ESPN's Thursday night package will mark the first for Nebraska since a 2003 victory at Southern Mississippi. It will be Nebraska's fifth overall appearance in ESPN Thursday night contests, with the Huskers also picking up wins at Oklahoma State in 1993 and 1995, and at Texas Tech in 1994.
The 2009 season will also mark the third consecutive season the Nebraska-Missouri contest has been televised on ESPN. Each of the last two meetings have been Saturday night national telecasts on the network.
Monday's announcement marks the second Thursday night game announced for Big 12 teams in the last week. Oklahoma State will host Colorado on Nov. 19.
The Texas at Texas A&M game has already been set for showing on Nov. 26 -- Thanksgiving night.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Many were wondering about Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's sanity when he decided before the season that he would call plays for the Cowboys' offense this season.
In the past, former offensive coordinator Larry Fedora had the brunt of the play-calling duties. But when he left for the head coaching job at Southern Mississippi, Gundy decided to replace him with himself.
The results have been strong after the first four games of the season. The Cowboys lead the nation in rushing and are fourth in total offense. Quarterback Zac Robinson ranks fifth in passing efficiency, wide receiver Dez Bryant is fifth in receiving yards per game and running back Kendall Hunter is third in rushing yards per game.
Veteran Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler was among many members of the Fourth Estate who wondered if Gundy would have enough time to do justice do his play-calling responsibilities. But after OSU's start, he's answered those calls from skeptics as Sittler acknowledges in his column today.
It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys can keep humming along offensively. Gundy says he's having more fun than ever calling plays. That could change quickly if the Cowboys struggle.
|Joe Nicholson/US Presswire|
|Mike Gundy has the Cowboys ranked for the first time since he took over in 2005.|
What a difference a year makes.
Oklahoma State is riding high with a 4-0 record and is one of six Big 12 teams to be ranked this week. An explosive offense that has hung 50 points on each of its last three opponents is bringing back memories of previous Cowboy teams when Barry Sanders was here 20 years ago after a 55-24 rout of Troy last week.
"I would say winning gives everybody a good feeling," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "When the guys are walking on campus, I would guess that people are telling them they are playing well. I imagine they are feeling pretty good about themselves."
Only a year ago, the prospects for the program weren't nearly as bright. The Cowboys limped home after a loss to Troy in quarterback Zac Robinson's first career start. The residue of discontent sparked Gundy's infamous rant after beating Texas Tech in their conference opener.
Fast forward a year later and it's much quieter around Stillwater. Their national ranking -- their first since Gundy took over in 2005 -- is a milestone of sorts for the program as it heads into its Big 12 opener Saturday night against Texas A&M.
"I don't really get excited about many things this time of year because our coaching staff members are firm believers on working and preparing and doing the best we can to give our players the best opportunity to win on Saturday," Gundy said. "But I do think being ranked is good and I'm excited for the team.
"And I'm also excited for everyone involved in building this football program to a championship level, which is where we ultimately want to be. I think we took a good step last week."
While developing a list of the top 12 non-conference matchups Thursday, I began thinking about ideal matchups for different schools across the conference.
If I were king of college football and could mandate opponents for different Big 12 teams, here are some of the choices I'd make and my reasoning. Let me know what you think, and if you could come up with better ones.
Baylor -- How about Vanderbilt? What could be better than watching two schools that face similar difficulties from the nation's toughest conferences? Both are private schools and have the benefit of strong coaches. It would be an entertaining game.
Colorado -- I originally thought Air Force would work because of the geographical proximity. But a better choice, I think, is UCLA, so we could watch Rick Neuheisel squaring off against his old team. And the two programs are relatively equal, which should make for some real competition on the field.
Iowa State -- You could argue for Florida and a return of Dan McCarney to Ames. But a better, more entertaining game would be to match the Cyclones against Minnesota. The two schools are relatively close and are at about the same levels in their respective conferences. You could bet that Mack Brown would be watching the matchup of his old protégés Gene Chizik and Tim Brewster.
Kansas -- ESPN has liked matching the coaching wiles and offenses of Mark Mangino and Toledo's Tom Amstutz in the past. But a better matchup would be to let Mangino call plays against Joe Paterno and Penn State. Jayhawks fans are still grouchy about how the 1969 Orange Bowl finished up. It would be kind of neat to see a rematch -- even if it's nearly 40 years later.
Kansas State -- Give me the Wildcats and Fresno State, the school they ducked earlier this season. I don't know what Ron Prince is afraid of. His Wildcats would match up very favorably with the Bulldogs.
Missouri -- There was a lot of bluster emanating out of Iowa City a couple of years ago when the Tigers and Iowa abruptly cancelled a series of upcoming games. But things have changed since then. The Tigers are white-hot and the Hawkeyes have taken a big step back. Let's see them finally play.
Nebraska -- It's hard to think of many for the Cornhuskers, who have played virtually every great national program in the past. I'd like to see them challenge South Carolina right now. I know that Steve Spurrier hasn't forgotten that 62-24 bludgeoning his Florida Gators endured at the hands of the Cornhuskers in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. And the coaching battle between Spurrier and Bo Pelini would be delicious.
Oklahoma -- I used to think seeing Bob Stoops match wits with Spurrier would be neat. But a better matchup might feature the Sooners against Florida -- a game between two of the nation's most talented programs in recent history.
Oklahoma State -- It might be kind of cool to see the Cowboys square off with Les Miles' LSU team or the Southern Mississippi team now coached by Larry Fedora. But a better game -- and definitely more anticipated media scrum afterward -- would be to see the Cowboys meet Michigan State and Coach Mark Dantonio. The game would be close on the field and the fireworks after the game with Mike Gundy and Dantonio might be better than the game before it.
Texas -- After watching a BCS title game that lived up to the hype (and more), I could watch Texas against USC every day for the rest of my life. These two programs really should play more often, even if Vince Young and Reggie Bush don't have any eligibility remaining.
Texas A&M -- The rivalry for recruiting in East Texas is pretty intense and I think it would be kind of fun to see the Aggies hook up against Les Miles and LSU. The two old rivals played 49 times between 1899 and their most recent skirmish in 1995. It would be good to see them playing again.
Texas Tech -- Mike Leach once roamed the sidelines at BYU, where he intently watched coach LaVell Edwards' practices as a student. Those early sessions enabled him to glean some of the bedrock principles for his passing offense. Who says you can't go home again? A game between the Red Raiders and the Cougars would provide the kind of offense that fans dream about.
Let me know what you think and suggest some other potential dream non-conference games. I'll let others know about your choices.